May Day is many things to many people. Etymologically, it is a homophone (same sounding word) for the international call for help. It is a corruption of the French imperative “M’aidez” meaning “Help me!” As a holiday it is claimed by many.
It is known in the pagan world as Beltane, a fertility celebration, one of the four high holidays in the pagan and neo-pagan calendar, Samhain on October 31 is another. Beltane is the day of fire commemorating Bel or Belenos, the Celtic sun god. Indeed, in the modern Irish language, Bealtaine is the name for May. The early Anglo-Saxons began their celebration on the eve before, feasting the end of winter and the first planting. It was a time of revelry and abandon — note the song from the musical Camelot “It’s May, it’s May, the lusty month of May” — with the selection of a May Queen and the ribbons of the Maypole. But this day’s celebration of the revival of vegetation goes back to the Roman practice of visiting the grotto of Egena. The people of ancient Rome honored Flora, the goddess of flowers and springtime.
HISTORY OF WORLD TAI CHI DAY
Today is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, celebrated at 10 am local time in cities around the world. This is held the last Saturday of April each year.
While this global celebration has been going on since 1999, now there are hundreds of cities across 80 countries and six continents around the world. Historically, it was started in Kansas City in 1998 by Bill Douglas and Angela Wong Douglas, co-authors of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi and Qigong” who went on to found the international part of the event.
This event involves exhibitions in local parks and public areas of Tai Chi forms and Qigong exercises. Details of this can be found at WorldTaiChi.org. [click to continue…]
HISTORY OF EARTH DAY
April 22 is called Earth Day because it both commemorates and celebrates the observance of the anniversary of our discovery of planet Earth. At this time by all accounts, there is general agreement that Earth is far superior to the place from which we came, as we shall recount below.
Recently, however, there has been increased concern regarding our displacement of the original aboriginal inhabitants, as is often the case with more “enlightened” conquerors, which is how we like to think of ourselves.
The indigenous population, a kind of Eukaryota or more specifically Archaeplastida, is known in the vernacular as plants. You cannot have missed the increased coverage in the media on all things “green.” Of course, the Irish were the first to capitalize on this theme, but now everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon, with everything from green vehicles to green computing.
[click to continue…]
HISTORY OF APRIL 19
Many of my Facebook friends have asked me to write an article on the History of April 19th. Why? Of course, this date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday (58 in 400 years each) than on Friday or Saturday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Monday or Wednesday (56). But what important things have occurred historically on this date in history? There are many, here are just three:
Reformation — 1529
On April 19, at the Second Diet of Speyer, the first use of the term Protestant occurred. What was the context? Back in the First Diet of Speyer, Germany in 1526, followers of Martin Luther in Germany and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland understood that the Roman Church would permit the toleration of Lutheran and Swiss Reformed versions of worship. This would essentially suspend the impact of the Edict of Worms, which back in 1521 had declared Luther to be an outlaw and banned the reading or possession of his writings. (He had already been religiously excommunicated by the Pope the previous year in 1520.)
German Princes understood now that cujus regio, ejus religio — literally “Whose realm, his religion” or roughly “the religion of the Prince is the religion of his territory.” This meant that if a Prince followed Luther, so too could his people. However, if the First Diet suspended the Edict of Worms, the Second Diet reinstated it or more particularly excluded toleration for Lutherans, Zwinglians or Anabaptists. A group of German Princes formally filed a legal “protest” and were called Protestants.
[click to continue…]
HISTORY OF TAX DAY
Tax Day is the anniversary of the celebration for the elation we feel when we receive a tax refund until we realize it was our own money in the first place and the government has been “borrowing” it from us for the better part of a year and paying us no interest. The holiday is celebrated with the mention of tax credits, exemptions, deductions, write-offs, and dependents… some of which may be the same.
Back during the time of Jesus, this season was referred to as “render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
For Tax Accountants, this is called the “busy season” as they put in nights and weekends to finish tax returns. If they’re corporate tax accountants, they do it again in October.
Here are some helpful terms as you prepare your tax forms:
- Extension: get out of jail free pass for not filing by the deadline, but only for a limited time.
- Coffee: what tax accountants convert into tax returns
- Starbucks: a place you cannot deduct as a workspace
- Dependent: not your dog
- Accrual: the kind of world it is out there
At this time, in the middle of April, two things are inevitable: death and taxes. The later though is the gift that keeps on giving.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment, or subscribing to the news feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader, or to your email.